Story:It's Been Quiet
It's Been Quiet
Written by Shataivian
Silence. Something Lisa hadn’t had in a long while. No issues. No fights. No backstabbing. Nothing. And that was the problem. It was no secret that after the All-Star game in February 2020, Lisa punched her father in front of the entire stadium. It was caught on camera and was reported everywhere. These same reports that stated that her father had plans to sue her. “Bring it on,” she nervously thought to herself. She was ready for more trouble.
Days turned to weeks turned to months. Nothing but silence. No added threats. No sign of her father anywhere. Nothing. Lisa figured she’d keep her head down and let the whole thing blow over. Maybe ‘nothing’ meant that nothing would come of this.
On April 20th Las Vegas was in Hawaii to play the Kahunas. They had gotten there the night before which gave the team some time to practice and explore if they wanted to. One of Lisa’s favorite things to do while in Honolulu was to shop, whether it be for fashion or edible indulgences. Before the game Lisa had stopped at the coffee shop she frequented when in town to pick up some coffee beans and other coffee delights. She had been getting used to going out in public and not being immediately recognized by dressing up like the tourists, wearing a big hat and glasses, and keeping her tattoo covered. This was usually a good enough tactic for her, but not on this day.
While checking out with the plucky young antelope at the front counter, Lisa felt a firm tap on her shoulder. Instead of turning to face this person she looked down on the ground as though she had dropped something, this way she could keep her identity concealed for long enough to get out of the situation. “Oh, no! Did I drop something,” she asked. “Thank you!” She knelt down and pretended to pick something up and promptly left the shop.
A few zips around the blocks to try and lose this person and she was on her way back to her hotel. As she stood at the corner of the street waiting for the road to clear, she felt another firm tap on her shoulder. “Hello, Lisa,” a female voice sounded. “Can you and I talk?” Busted. But by whom? She turned around to face this person and began to apologize for the misunderstanding. The woman was shorter than her. Despite Lisa being tall for a girl, she was still rather short to most of the people she knew, so, it took a good moment before she looked down to meet eye to eye with this woman. In front of her was a beautifully dressed mouse, wearing a blue one-shoulder sun dress, and a sunhat and glasses much like Lisa’s. Her fur was golden, and her ears were much larger and rounder than Lisa’s. “Not a bad look,” the woman complemented Lisa on her public disguise. “Next time try a flat brim and messy hair.”
“Um. Excuse me?” Lisa cocked her head but was hushed by the golden mouse. She gestured with her head to go somewhere more private. Before Lisa had a chance to agree or decline, the golden mouse started walking, and Lisa followed. They found themselves behind the hotel Lisa was staying at near some dumpsters. There was no one around except for the occasional worker who’d come to throw out the trash.
“I finally get to meet you,” the woman said. What did Lisa get herself into? Why did she follow this woman? She was nothing but a fan, and now they were alone in a back alley. Lisa looked around to find a quick route out of there. “So, things have been pretty quiet for you lately,” the woman continued. Lisa started to shift her weight to leave. “Ever wonder why?” Lisa didn’t want to say anything that would confirm her identity, but that last statement caught her attention.
“Who are you,” Lisa finally asked.
“Well, I do know who you are. I suppose it’s only fair I return the favor.” Her voice was silky and confident, her face smug yet at the same time soft and welcoming. “My name is Valencia, but you may call me Val. It is so wonderful to finally get to meet you.” Val leaned in and cheek-kissed the dazed and confused Lisa on both of her cheeks.
“You keep saying that, but who are you? Like, WHO are you?” Val answered back with a laugh as she held up a poised hand to her chin.
“More importantly, HOW are YOU,” Val asked back. “So much as been happening in the FBA as of late, and shockingly none of it has to do with you. Especially after your little show back in February.” Lisa grunted in response as Val continued. “Your father was on everywhere saying how he was going to teach you a lesson and take you to court, but I’ve heard nothing since. Strange, especially since he had to undergo surgery.”
“Surgery?!” Lisa’s posture stood straight and then soften as she tried to dissect this person’s words and motives.
“Yes. It was quite a punch you threw. He was swollen for days before he finally went to the doctor. Turns out you broke his jaw. Needed titanium plates and screws.” Lisa’s eyes narrowed. Alright, who was this woman? How did she know all of this, and what was she after? In fact, the more Lisa thought about it, this meeting felt oddly reminiscent to the private meeting with Jason’s ex-wife and her lawyer. Was this David’s lawyer? Was she here to try and settle things quietly?
“Oh, sure,” Lisa finally taunted. “That’s what everyone wanted to hear. Everyone wanted to hear how Lisa DuPont’s ‘uncalled for’ punch broke her dear father’s jaw. What do you really want?”
“No sorrow for your father’s injury? Interesting. And my dear, it’s as I said. I just want to get to know you. I want to see if you’re the woman I think you are.” Lisa scoffed back at Val. “Don’t believe me? Do you think I’m some sort of spy or something of the like?” Lisa crossed her arms. “Come now. I could never stoop to such a level. You know, your father talks about you all the time.”
“So, you’re in contact with him? Did he say I’m a horrible daughter and that you need to investigate me?”
“No-no-no-no,” Val chuckled. “He says what any doting father would say about his daughter: how proud of you he is, how disappointed in you he sometimes is, how big you’ve grown, how much you’ve changed. I just wanted to see it for myself.”
“Alright, enough. I donno who you are or what you really want, but you’re gonna answer me this: who are you to my father? You’re not his lawyer or some spy. Are you one of his hired goons?”
“Oh, heavens, no! Imagine me, a hired goon,’ Val nearly snorted. “Oh, come on, dear Lisa. It must be clear to you who I am to your father… And who he is to me.” As Lisa looked Val up and down, she slowly winced, instinctively curling her shoulders away from her.
“Are you… Dating my dad?”
“Bravo! Bellissimo,” Val applauded.
“But! You can’t be more than a decade older than me!”
“Did you mean ‘an adult?’ Like your father as well? Was a real shame what you did to him, and to such a handsome face, too.” Lisa dropped her head and laughed.
“Oh. I see what’s going on here. Look let me save you some trouble. My dad may own a chain of lounges, but he’s actually flat broke. He’s not gonna be your little sugar-daddy, kay. So, why don’t you scurry along to someone else you can leech off of.” Val threw her head back, bringing her hand up to her mouth to laugh.
“Of course, you’re father’s broke. You should see the trouble he’s having to settle some of his ‘debts.’ But, then again.” She started to calm down. “You’re not.”
“Excuse me,” Lisa voice boomed.
“I asked you before, but you never answered. Do you know why you haven’t heard a word from your father regarding a lawsuit? It’s because ‘no daughter hates their father THAT much.’ ‘She deserves a chance to apologize and for things to get better.’ ‘Oh please, oh please, don’t sue your daughter.’ ‘She’s not THAT bad.’ ‘Let ME talk to her.’ The way I see it, you and I either get along… or we don’t.”
“You’re blackmailing me,” Lisa whispered, exasperated. “Well, you can just piss off. I can handle myself. He wants to go through with it and sue me, then bring it.”
“Right. If your father, the man who’s been able to keep so many secrets from you, steal custody over you, and orchestrate a fake lawsuit with hired lawyers from across the country, decides to sue you, you can handle yourself? Do you actually know what he was planning? He was going to end your career. Permanently. You understand? No more basketball. No more school. Nothing. It was me who calmed him down long enough to get him to reconsider. If you ask me, you owe me.” Lisa was ready to lash back but couldn’t. This had honestly been a concern of hers this whole time. What if she lost her career? Could he do that? Would he do that? Of course, he would. He’d absolutely go that far. “The way I see it,” Val continued. “Either I leave here today and you play your last professional game, or you and I learn to ‘get along’ as it were.”
“What do you want from me,” Lisa asked through her teeth.
“Oh, we’ll stay in touch. For now, just keep your head in the game, alright?” Val moved in close to Lisa and grabbed her hand with both of hers. “I am so glad we got to meet,” she said with an overly cheery voice. Lisa snatched her hand back and Val chuckled. “Who knows, maybe you and I can become best of friends. You know, before we become family. Tah-tah, love.”
As Lisa stood watching Valencia sashay her way out of view, she felt a tightness in her chest; a tightness she had finally gotten used to not feeling. But here she was yet again. Who was this Valencia? She thinks she can simply blackmail Lisa without so much as a pushback? What’s more, what was this other feeling of doubt brewing in the back of her mind? Something she said didn’t sit right with Lisa (though, nothing she said really sat right with Lisa). Nevertheless, Lisa was ready to do some research on this newcomer. She had found a bit of peace and was not about to let someone come and take that away from her. Not this time. Not again.